The Healing Hands, a relief project of Saint Luke Society (SLS), successfully conducted a medical mission in Olango Island, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu, Philippines, on January 27th and 28th, 2024. The mission provided free medical services to over 500 local residents and marked the fifth overseas medical mission organized by Healing Hands in the Philippines. Despite its proximity to Cebu City, Olango Island lacks adequate medical facilities, leaving many residents without access to healthcare.
The medical team consisted of 38 volunteers from South Korea, including medical professionals, and two local doctors from the Philippines. An additional 20 Filipino volunteers also participated in the mission. The journey faced challenges as rough seas initially prevented the team from reaching the island on the scheduled date of the 26th. However, through collective prayers by Saint Luke Society’s prayer team, the team was able to board a boat around 4 pm, miraculously overcoming the adverse weather conditions.
The official start of the medical mission took place around 10 am on the 27th with an opening ceremony. Local government representatives from Cebu and Olango Island delivered greetings, and SLS President, Dr. Shin Myeong-seop, addressed the audience. Additionally, SLS signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the local government officials, the police station, and Zion Church of Olango for future collaborations in medical missions.
Medical services were then provided, with internal medicine, dentistry, traditional medicine, and pharmacy services being offered. Due to the need for effective communication with residents, local Filipino doctors took charge of the internal medicine department, conducting thorough examinations and diagnosing various conditions. Many residents were found to suffer from hypertension, with some being unaware of their condition until this mission. The Filipino doctor ensured that patients received medical referral letters and test results, guiding them to continue healthcare at local health centers.
Dentistry services included extractions and scaling. Numerous residents, deprived of regular dental care, particularly sought scaling services. The team also administered fluoride application to children for cavity prevention.
Traditional medicine offered acupuncture treatments for various pain, with a focus on elderly individuals with knee arthritis and others suffering from muscle and headache pain.
The pharmacy distributed prescribed medications and provided vitamins to all attendees. Many Filipino residents face vitamin deficiencies due to a lack of vegetable intake, making the provision of vitamins a significant aspect of the mission.
The chairman of Tanggasan Barangay expressed gratitude for the substantial assistance provided to residents who lacked access to medical benefits. Numerous residents also conveyed their thanks.
Volunteers shared their profound experiences, with one dental professional expressing a newfound commitment to a life of helping others. A nurse found pride in her profession through the mission, and Saint Luke Society’s President,Dr. Shin Myeong-Seop expressed joy at being able to help residents in need.
Saint Luke Society’s Healing Hands, in collaboration with local authorities, successfully conducted a medical mission on Olango Island, providing vital healthcare services to underserved residents and leaving a positive impact on both the volunteers and the community.